It’s understandable that larger companies will have more than one agency working on different aspects of their business. One agency manages Search Engine Marketing (SEM), while another creates website design.
But all too often, a company will roll out a completely redesigned website that looks fabulous, has great design graphics, cool fonts and colors, but watch feebly as their SEM campaign performance takes a dive post relaunch.
Visual design is very important and some decline in SEM performance may not be avoided, but getting design input from the agency who actually manages SEM can help mitigate costly design mistakes. Best case scenario would to have the same agency managing both.
Taking a proactive approach, with an eye on SEM goals, can help avoid the following frequently seen website changes which affect SEM:
Lack of Relevant Keywords on New Pages
Create rich keyword-relevancy from your campaign ads to the campaign landing page. Your site content should support your advertising themes to create high quality scores, which in turn will lower your CPC’s and overall campaign costs. Not only that, satisfaction will increase when customers find exactly what they are looking for. Finally, keyword relevancy will help increase your SEO rankings as well. Keywords are king!
Any time you change a Google ad destination URL, the ad’s quality score starts back from zero. If your URL’s are solid, don’t change them. If changing URL’s is unavoidable, plan for decreased performance and higher CPC’s until the new quality score is established. This can take weeks.
Also, any old pages should be 301 redirected to new ones. Your SEM campaign will need to be updated with the new destination URL, as Google will most likely disapprove your ad if the destination URL immediately redirects.
Lack of A/B Testing For New Design
You never know how people will respond to a new design, so give them a choice and a chance to tell you. You may be surprised at the outcome.
Poorly Placed Call to Action Buttons
The on-page call-to-action should be prominent, make it a button rather than an inline text link. Place Call to Action buttons above the fold prominently and on all applicable pages.
For one client, we saw in increase of over 46% in registration rate after they changed their “register here” link to a button, and moved it above the fold and on every page. Make it easy for your customers to understand what you want them to do on your site.
Slow Rendering Pages
If your ad campaign has a slow loading destination page, Google will give it a poor quality score, directly affecting your campaign costs through higher CPC’s. Make sure your technology is sound and quick.
Long Form Fills
When placing PII forms in front of online assets (download, whitepaper, demo, etc.), the form with which you collect that information should be kept short. While lead generation is important, understand that the longer the form, the less likely people will be to fill it out. Also, don’t forget the power of having people engage with your online assets. You want people to get to know your company through these assets.
Remember, taking your SEM campaign into consideration before rolling out a website re-launch will not only help you avoid the cost of making further website changes, but also help you avoid costs incurred within the campaign itself through higher CPC’s. Happy launching!